Virginia Child Custody & Virginia Child Support

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Virginia family courts are no different from their counterparts in other states in that they strongly advocate for the best interests of children involved in divorce. The courts will encourage parents to amicably agree to a parenting agreement out of court. If the parents are unable to do so, courts will step in to decide such issues as custody, support, and visitation with an eye towards the best interests of the children. The following topics cover Virginia laws governing child custody and support.

Virginia Child Custody:

Virginia courts determine all custody issues as a function of the best interests of the children. The courts will consider all relevant facts, while giving the father and mother the same consideration regardless of the child’s sex or age. Either a sole or joint custody decision will be reached. The factors the court will consider include, among others: children’s age, their health, their wishes, the parental roles, and other needs of the children.

Virginia Child Support:

Child support in Virginia is determined in accordance with the “Income Shares Model” for child support, where each parent’s income is considered in relative proportion. The support amounts calculated from each parent then help decide which parent must pay the other in order to maintain this proportion and provide for the needs of the child.

These guidelines are not always followed, but a decision to follow a different standard will require supportive evidence showing 1) all the factors that affect the parties’ financial obligations differently from what the Income Shares Model would deem appropriate, and 2) how applying a different standard would more effectively preserve the best interests of the child.

Some other factors that the courts will consider in determining child support may include:

  • Monetary support provided for other family members;
  • Debts arising for the benefit of the child during the marriage;
  • Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed for the child’s benefit;
  • Court-ordered payments for health care or education for the child’s benefit;
  • Children’s independent financial resources, if any;
  • Education, training, and/or career opportunities of the parties and/or ability to pursue those opportunities; and
  • A written agreement between the parties on the amount of child support, if any such agreement exists.

It’s important to remember that a lawyer can help you sort through your rights and responsibilities in terms of raising children following a divorce, as well as serve as your advocate and/or counsel when negotiating a parenting agreement. You can find a lawyer at:

Virginia Divorce/Child Support/Child Custody Lawyers:
Find an experienced Virginia Divorce Attorney at
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